From London to Island Life

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Mount Scenery, the highest point in the Netherlands

I recently moved from London to a small island in the West Indies. The island is called Saba. It is a volcano (officially the highest point in the Netherlands and potentially active), five miles squared in size and has a population of around two thousand people. It has one of the world’s shortest runways (400-metres), one main road, aptly named ‘The Road’, running the length of it and I have turned up in the midst of hurricane season.

Living here can come with difficulties if you’re not used to small island life…

It is not unheard of to run out of water as the supply comes from cisterns that are dependent on enough rainfall. The five small mini-markets have fairly limited options by the end of the week as the boat comes in with produce once a week on a Wednesday. It can also be extremely quiet in the evenings. As I write this at 8pm in summer it is completely dark outside (although I can see the most beautiful starry sky) and all I can hear is the howl of the wind and the crickets churping.

 

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Saban cottage

With all this in mind…

Once you get used to it, a limited a water supply means that you become more mindful of not wasting resources and indeed more conscious of other environmental issues. In the shops you’re not bombaded with a million different brands and ten ever so slightly different versions of the same granola. In the evening I hear the sounds of nature, breathing in fresh ocean air, rather than hearing the roar of traffic and breathing in copious fumes. When it is daylight I can see the ocean from my kitchen table and I look out my bedroom window into jungle. I walk into town and exchange smiles and greetings from everyone I pass, even if I don’t know them (shocking coming from London).

I am not criticising urban areas. However, in this fast-paced world that we live in it is refreshing to be somewhere where so many concerning issues that the modern world is facing are far from sight. Most of all though it is refreshing to be in a place with such heart and where community and connection are of such great value.

 

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Swimming at Cove Bay, Saba

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